Smaller flexible plastic packs top the trend for 2016

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Smaller flexible plastic 0-50 g packs will rise 4% CAGR to 2020, predicts Euromonitor. Source: iStock/memoriesarecaptured
Smaller flexible plastic 0-50 g packs will rise 4% CAGR to 2020, predicts Euromonitor. Source: iStock/memoriesarecaptured

Related tags Compound annual growth rate Middle east Packaging

Smaller flexible plastic packs have topped the trend for 2016 as they give consumers a sense of control over snacking, portion sizes and awareness of sugar intake in food and soft drinks, says Euromonitor International.

Its 2016 packaging data report suggests the 0-50 g pack size band holds the largest share of retail food packaging volumes globally with volumes up 3% during 2015 to almost two trillion units with the 0-50 g size seeing the biggest rise.

Asia, Latin America, Middle East

It claims this trend is set to continue with the 0-50 g size band posting a 4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to 2020.

Rosemarie Downey, head of packaging at Euromonitor International, believes the popularity of small pack sizes originates from a need for immediate affordability in rural areas of developing countries across Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and Africa.

These three regions together account for approximately 65% of the 0-50 g size band.

In the confectionery industry alone, The Association of Chocolate, Biscuits and Confectionery Industries of Europe (CAOBISCO) focused on discussions about portion size control to guide consumers towards healthier diets and lifestyles at its annual meeting in Brussels​ last month.

The industry trade body released a position paper in February creating a 'Menu of Options' for its members, which include Nestlé, Mondelēz and Ferrero, to address health and nutrition concerns.

'Bite-size' variants

Options included increasing the range of available portion sizes including provision of small portions and 'bite-size' variants; providing individually wrapped portions; visual representation of portions; defining a calorie cap on ‘countlines’ and enabling packaging to reclose, so consumers can save the rest of a product for later.

Pauline Castres, food policy officer for The European Consumer Organization (BEUC) said at the time she welcomed CAOBISCO’s option to reduce and control confectionery portion sizes, but said smaller sizes should be "affordable".

"What we see unfortunately is sometimes the smaller versions are two times more expensive than the other version and we know that low-income families cannot afford these kinds of luxuries,”​ she said.

Downey added: “Snacking, portion control and consumer mindfulness over sugar intake are pertinent trends in foods and soft drinks behind the movement to buy in smaller quantities and supported by a number of government initiatives that address national health concerns like sugar intake and obesity."​ 

Euromonitor global food and drinks packaging size performance.

Affordability is another factor that strengthens the success of the going smaller trend, also apparent in beauty, home care and premium alcoholic beverages​.

Within foods, the impact of snacking and portion control is a trend that now goes beyond the traditional snacking echelons of the confectionery, biscuits and savoury snacks categories as a greater array of single-serve products are sold as snacks and often in rigid plastic or flexible packaging for that all-important consumer convenience as witnessed in new product launches​.” 

She said within an ever competing global marketplace and as brands seek to engage more closely with consumers, the importance of packaging to achieve growth will remain strong.

We expect to see again variation in brands’ packaging portfolios in the coming year through pack type selection, pack design and through the range of pack sizes being made available to consumers​,” added Downey.

A shift to smaller pack sizes is widely proving to be an outright winner in packaging volume growth through ‘rightsizing’​.

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